Written By Jeff Mardo
I never got into La Femme Nikita, but I can certainly appreciate it. This was a breakthrough series that defined the modern spy and con genres for both television and film. The show was just a bit too 80’s for me. It sometimes took itself too seriously, like a rerun of Airwolf. When you really stop and think about what is going on in some of these episodes, the whole thing is just a bit silly.
However, there are people who love this show, and I can respect that. Season five was the show’s last, …nd it was only a half-season (another way that this show was ahead of its time). There are just eight episodes here, spread out over three discs. Thankfully, these eight episodes seem to be well thought out in advance, offering viewers one main story arc, and nicely tying up loose ends while illuminating just enough of the back story to develop the story of the series while not overexposing it. The world of spies is a shady place, and if too many secrets are given away, the allure disappears. Bravo to the writers on this show for providing this final half-season as a farewell to the show’s extraordinarily loyal fans.
The audio track is pretty average here, with one notable exception. First, the bad. Dialog is sometimes hard to discern, especially that of our heroine. Her accent is wonderful, but it deserves a more detailed audio treatment tat it has received. The score is also pretty bland. I’m sure it would not be economically feasible to put this series under a complete restoration, but it would be nice if that could be done.
That good news that I alluded to earlier? The bass tones are fantastic. They are smooth and full, and really do a superb job of filling out the rest of the soundtrack. I only wish that the rest of the soundtrack sounded as great as the tones coming out of the subwoofer do.
The video quality suffer from the fact that this show was created before the era when high definition became the standard. These episodes beg to be presented in widescreen, but unfortunately they were made in a full screen world. The woes continue with images that lack the clarity that one would hope to find on a new DVD release. There are some nagging issues with grain, and the colors are just a bit too warm. This transfer looks more like really good VHS than a modern DVD product. It;s a shame, too, because someone that looks like Peta Wilson should always be presented in the best manner possible.
This season is a bit light on the extras, especially for the series conclusion. There are some deleted scenes scattered about here and there, which is always a good thing to see. I was especially pleased to find that each scene is presented with some notes on what it is and why it was cut. The scenes themselves are presented in a broadcast-ready format.
Next up is a Season 5 Internet Teaser. Since this season was filmed in 2000-2001, when people had a dial-up connection at best, this is actually something of a breakthrough idea. It seems like around every bend is some groundbreaking idea that the show has been one of the first to try, and an internet promo is just one more in the list.
The last and best extra here is Season 5: Declassified. This is a segment that features the cast and crew discussing the final season in a series of all-new interviews. It’s nice to see the cast members especially as they come back to the series after several years away. It is clear that they still hold a special place in their hearts for this show, and it’s great to see them reminisce about their baby.
These episodes are a fitting end to the show’s run. I only wish that the quality of the discs was better. Still, collectors shouldn’t be scared off, as the quality of this series is congruent with the other seasons in the series. If you have come this far, you should feel comfortable in your decision to purchase the final season. The extras are minimal, but they are of good quality. This is probably not something that is going to appeal to younger viewers, but those that have been collecting these discs from the start will be happy to finally be able to complete their full series collection.
Special Features List
- Canceled scenes from select episodes
- Season 5 Internet teaser with introduction by director Jon Cassar
- “Season 5: Declassified” – a lowdown on Season 5 as the creative minds behind the series and select cast members discuss the show’s last 8 episodes